Today we took on the grueling task of spring sheep maintenance. We caught the sheep flock in the barn then individually caught each one and placed it in the sheep chair (not sure what the sheep would call it). I trimmed their hooves while Tom gave them a cobalt-selenium-copper bolus. I checked their body condition and their conjunctival color (no surprises there). I then gave them a dose of albendazole wormer and a CDT shot. They were then free to go.
I was debating about worming them this spring. I had watched a program about sheep parasite management from http://www.optimalag.com/ and was not going to worm the entire flock. But I really worry about liver flukes here so went ahead and gave the albendazole.
The photo above is of Tanya, our Gotland-Finn ewe, obviously enjoying her mani-pedi. My back and legs ached after doing all of this on 33 sheep, but a hot bath really helped.
So today we continued onto the next step of tanning our sheepskin. We rinsed the brined skin. Above is the skin surface, and below is the wool surface. DC was sheared a little over one month before he was butchered so his wool is fairly short.
And then we placed his skin in a pickling solution made with acid and salt. It will remain here for 3 days.
So we are learning how to tan a sheepskin at home. We had to clear out room in our freezers for meat so it sped up the process to do this. Tom had placed the skin of DC in the freezer when he was butchered in May of last year. So we thawed it out and began salting it over 1 week ago. Friday Tom fleshed it and yesterday resalted it. Here it is under the salt:
Today we rinsed it off
and placed it in a brine solution, weighing it down with a water container.
Tom has been sick with a nasty cold these last few days making this process a little less pleasant. Now it will sit in the brine for >24 hours and then we start pickling it.
The weather outside is nasty, Tom is sick, and I do not want to be. So we will hang out in the house the rest of today. I will do taxes and render some lard, and Tom will watch Nascar. Hope you have a nice Sunday!